Another year, another growth spurt for Lexington’s burgeoning MoonTower Music Festival.
The event, launched in 2014 at Equus Run Vineyard, attracted 1,100 people to rural Midway. Last year, it moved to Fayette County, in the more familiar confines of Masterson Station Park, and attracted 4,000 to see a lineup topped by the same headliner as year one: Moon Taxi.
As MoonTower readies for its third edition, festival director Kaelyn Query says ticket sales are already ahead of last year’s for a souped-up lineup topped by Manchester Orchestra, Drive-By Truckers, and Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue.
“Each year we grow more and more, getting more sponsors, more participation from the community and obviously more ticket holders,” says Query, also founder and president of LexEffect, the event management company that presents MoonTower. “That allows us to grow the lineup and grow the festival, keeping it within reason of what Lexington can sustain but also what Lexington wants to attend.”
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We want it to be a multi-day festival, but it all depends on the ticket holders and what they want and what the community will support.
Kaelyn Query, MoonTower Music Festival director
From the beginning, the idea of MoonTower has been to get Lexington in on the summer festival scene, which largely seems to take place elsewhere, including down the road at Louisville’s Forecastle Festival.
This year’s lineup, she says, was in direct response to ticket holders surveyed last year who were asked what they’d like to see. She said the event would like to bring in some acts that aren’t big enough for Rupp Arena but are too big for, say, the Lexington Opera House or Manchester Music Hall.
“We don’t want to bring in acts that are already coming here regularly, because that defeats the purpose,” Query says. “We’re hoping that MoonTower can serve as that middle ground.”
The festival is happy with the Masterson Station site, with an “outdoor tree-park kind of vibe, instead of being out in a big field, which is nice,” Query said. This year, she says, the festival space will be smaller than last year so people aren’t so spread out.
“We want it to feel like there are 5,000 people there,” she says.
As for the future, Query says MoonTower is eyeing growth.
“We want it to be a multi-day festival, but it all depends on the ticket holders and what they want and what the community will support,” she says. “It isn’t just based on what we want. It’s got to be for everybody.”
If you go
Moontower Music Festival
When: 11 a.m. Aug. 27
Where: Masterson Station Park, 3051 Leestown Road
11:30 a.m.: No Fences
12:30 p.m.: Small Batch
1: 30 p.m.: Chrome Pony
2:30 p.m.: Aubrie Sellers
4 p.m.: The Weeks
5:30 p.m.: The Floozies
7:20 p.m.: Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue
10 p.m.: Manchester Orchestra
11 a.m. (and between sets): DJ Tank
12 p.m.: Johnny Conqueroo
1 p.m.: Blind Corn Liquor Pickers
2 p.m.: Bassh
3:15 p.m.: Mandolin Orange
4:45 p.m.: Jr. Jr.
6:15 p.m.: Judah and the Lion
8:40 p.m.: Drive-By Truckers